Author: Enzo Elia
Caption: The initiative described by the infographic is the product of research and engineering work done by Northwestern’s Michael Jewett, professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, along with Michael Koepke and Ching Leang, both researchers at LanzaTech. In order to create an alternative to reduce CO2 waste and mitigate its abundance in the atmosphere, as well as the negative ramifications it entails, researchers used synthetic biology tools to reprogram the bacterium Clostridium autoethanogenum to ferment CO2, and in doing so make acetone and isopropanol (IPA) – industrial chemicals used for fuels, fabric and cosmetics.
The gains from this engineering accomplishment reflect both environmental and economic advantages, as it provides a sustainable and accessible way to make use of carbon dioxide waste to produce chemicals that are in high demand across the globe. The value of diminishing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is clearly outlined by the infographic – as a greenhouse gas, it plays a key role in raising the Earth’s temperature and stimulating climate change. Through deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels, humanity has emitted unnatural, record high levels of this gas – higher today than at any point in at least the past 800,000 years.
Its unprecedented abundance, along with its tendency to stay in the atmosphere for a long time, have allowed carbon dioxide to trap increasing levels of heat within the Earth’s atmosphere, significantly contributing to global warming and ocean acidification. This initiative provides a new path for humanity to fight such negative changes and protect our planet.
Tags: Climate Change and Oceans